Law Office Of William F Underwood - December 2019

Justice MONTHLY

229-888-0888 • www.puttingpeoplefirst.law

DECEMBER 2019

10 Years Later CELEBRATING A DECADE OF FILLING MY DAD’S SHOES AND FORGING MY OWN PATH

I started practicing law with my dad in March 2009. I had been with the district attorney’s office for two years at that point, and I was ready to join the practice my dad had been building since beginning his law career in 1974. But on July 22, 2010, my dad passed away. I always say that we crammed a lot of experience into that short time frame, nearly a year and a half. I didn’t have my own full caseload, but I would attend hearings with him, shadow mediations, and take in every ounce of his expertise within that year. By the time he passed, I had been practicing law for more than three years, and though I was still shocked, I felt prepared to step into his role. Work gave me something to focus on, so I dove into it wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, I had to let one of my father’s employees go, but I kept Glenda, who had been working as a paralegal for 30 years, 10 of those years being with my dad. I closed the office my dad owned for decades, and I moved into the storage closet of my dad’s old law partner, Billy Mathis. At my dad’s funeral, Billy told me if there was ever anything I needed, he would be there for me. Luckily, he meant it and made do without a storage closet in his 800-square-foot office.

After I found my new work home, I doubled down on making sure I kept the reputation my dad built. Thanks to my father and Glenda’s guidance, I had a good blueprint for what to do. I may have had extensive training from my dad, but Glenda helped me so much in those early days. She caught any mistakes I made, and she always knew how to fix something. I contacted the 16 or so attorneys my dad had good relationships with to let them know I was available for any clients who could use my expertise. I reached out to chiropractors and medical professionals, advising them that I could help patients who were injured, struggling to find compensation, and in need of legal help. Soon, I developed

So, there was Billy, his assistant Sue, Glenda, and me — two practices crammed into 800 square feet.

While I got to work in that tiny space, Glenda worked Tuesday through Thursday in the hallway next to the closet. So, on Mondays and Fridays, I would answer my phones and make my own copies. Soon, the attorneys who shared the office space next to Billy moved out, and Glenda and I expanded the operation to next door. (Honestly, that was one of the coolest spaces I worked in.)

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